Like Anita Ekberg, Dolce Italian (Godfrey Hotel, 127 W. Huron St., no phone yet) plans to make a splash in early summer when it opens in Italian-crowded River North. Along with a second Dolce Italian in development in Atlanta, the Chicago location will join the famiglia of Miami’s Dolce Italian, a restaurant getting some extra buzz from its appearance on Bravo’s Best New Restaurant, under the umbrella of the New York–based restaurant group LDV Hospitality.
A man with the bucolic name of John Meadow founded LDV, whose first big hit was New York’s homemade-pasta haven Scarpetta. “We don’t do cookie-cutter restaurants,” he says. “[Dolce Italian in Chicago] is not an Italian American red-sauce bomb, and not an egotistical chef-ego interpretation of Italian. This is as authentic as you find throughout Italy.” The menu includes veal Milanese, Neapolitan-style pizzas, and house-made pastas and mozzarella. Meadow says a local chef de cuisine will be hired soon.
After four trips a year to Chicago for three or four years, Meadow thinks Dolce Italian has hit the right note for his company to enter Chicago. He’ll keep visiting, of course. “I love going to Chicago,” he says. “I will eat my face off there next week.” We prefer wigs and dark glasses, but everyone has his own way to stay anonymous when eating out.